Veteran, yet oft-injured, receiver Sterling Griffin was expected to be a key component of USF’s offense in 2013. That won’t be the case, however.
The receiver announced Friday in a surprising move that he will graduate this summer and finish out his eligibility elsewhere.
“I’ve had a great experience at USF and I’ll cherish the memories and relationships I’ve made while on campus,” Griffin said in a statement. “I appreciate Coach (Willie) Taggart for all he’s done since taking over the program, and I wish this team nothing but the best moving forward. I want to thank my teammates, the fans, the administration and all the support staff, especially the athletic training staff, who have helped me during my time here.”
Where Griffin goes next isn’t known right now, but he could have upwards of two years of eligibility remaining if he receives a sixth year. Griffin sustained a season-ending knee injury in just the second game of the year in 2012 for which he could receive a medical redshirt. He also missed all of 2010 with an ankle injury and another four games in 2011.
Sterling’s departure suddenly leaves USF with depth concerns at the wide receiver spot. Previously-suspended Terrence Mitchell will transfer to the Division II level and Chris Dunkley remains suspended.
(Hat tip: Tampa Bay Times)
Suspended South Florida wide receiver Terrence Mitchell is reportedly transferring out of the program to a place where he can play right away.
Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Mitchell will transfer to Fort Hays State in Kansas of the Division II level. The most confirmation of the move came from Fort Hays assistant Al McCray, who told the paper that Mitchell is likely to play defensive back. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.
Mitchell was the Bulls’ second-leading receiver last season with 31 catches for 414 yards, though new USF coach Willie Taggart looked to move Mitchell to cornerback earlier this offseason.
But Mitchell was suspended by Taggart in March, likely because of a traffic stop that resulted in Mitchell’s arrest for marijuana possession.
And now we (probably) know the rest of the story.
USF head coach Willie Taggart announced Monday that three of his players are indefinitely suspended, including Terrence Mitchell. No specific reasons for the suspensions were given.
According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, however, Mitchell was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana earlier this month. The charge stemmed, so to speak, from a March 2 traffic stop. From the paper:
According to the arrest report, the officer making a traffic stop at 11:54 a.m. smelled “the apparent plain odor of cannabis” upon contact with Mitchell, and when he took out his wallet to show ID, “a bag containing a green leafy substance was observed.”
No reason for the original traffic stop was given. A court appearance has been scheduled for Monday.
Mitchell was the Bulls’ second-leading receiver last season, although Taggart and his staff decided earlier this offseason to move the senior-to-be to cornerback.
In confirming the suspensions, Taggart allowed that the door to a return was open for Mitchell as well as wide receiver Chris Dunkley and running back Bradley Battles.
Along with spring practice, one of the annual rites this time of year is suspensions from said practice for various off-field issues.
USF is the latest program to pull the trigger on the non-punitive punitive measure, announcing that three players have been indefinitely suspended by new head coach Willie Taggart. The trio consists of wide receivers Terrence Mitchell and Chris Dunkley, along with running back Bradley Battles.
Taggart said each of the players will have the opportunity to return to the team, but will first have to prove they deserve something that’s a right and not a privilege.
“They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there,” Taggart said by way of Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “They can be back. They’re not just going to get on this team. You don’t just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they’re doing their part to be on this football team.”
Mitchell last season finished second on the Bulls in receptions (31) and receiving yards (414). Auman notes, however, that the new coaching staff had already decided to move Mitchell to cornerback. The fact that Mitchell will likely miss most if not all of spring practice will certainly hinder his transition to the defensive side of the ball.
Dunkley transferred to USF from Florida in May of 2011 and sat out that season to satisfy NCAA rules. In September of last year, Dunkley, who played in the first five games in 2012, was charged domestic violence in late September and was suspended from the program a day later. It’s unclear if his latest suspension is merely a continuation of the first one or is the result of a new incident.
Each of the past two seasons, Battles has missed game-time due to suspensions.